Taiwan seizes giant haul of heroin in cargo plane from Vietnam

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Taiwanese authorities seized 229 kilograms of heroin on a cargo aircraft coming from Vietnam Sunday and arrested seven people involved, the Taipei Times reported.


In the nation's largest heroin smuggling bust in two decades, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) seized 600 packages of heroin from the plane at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.


The drugs were found hidden in 12 empty stereo speakers, each of which contained 50 packages.


The packages had chocolate spread on them to avoid being detected by dogs, the bureau said.


It is believed that the narcotics were produced in Myanmar and shipped to Taiwan through Vietnam.


According to the bureau's estimate, the drugs could have been sold for a total of US$300 million.


Officers from the bureau said seven people had been arrested.


A suspect surnamed Wong, who worked for a cargo transportation company and was familiar with cargo transportation channels, had visited Vietnam and China several times, apparently to handle the illegal drugs, investigators said.


The bureau added that they discovered last year that Wong and other suspects were involved in heroin smuggling operations, so investigators had begun monitoring their actions.


It said investigators discovered that a cargo flight containing a large quantity of heroin would arrive in the country Sunday morning from Vietnam.


The bureau said that Taiwanese suspects who reside in China directed Wong and others to conduct the operation.


The bureau said it would ask Chinese authorities to pursue the smuggling ring in China under the Agreement on Jointly Cracking Down on Crime and Mutual Legal Assistance Across the Strait, which was signed in 2009.


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